Staff Members

Reverend Rodel G. Balagtas, D. MIn.
At the young age of 12, Father Rodel G. Balagtas entered Mother of Good Counsel Minor Seminary in San Fernando, Pampanga, Philippines. There, he finished his high school studies before entering San Carlos Seminary College Seminary in Makati, Metro-Manila, Philippines. After obtaining a degree in A.B. Classical Arts, Major in Philosophy, Fr. Rodel migrated to Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. with his whole family. For six years, he helped his family settle in their newly adopted county. Thereafter, he decided to pursue his vocation to the priesthood, which has never left his heart, by entering St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, California. There, he finished his theological studies obtaining Master Degree in Divinity and Master Degree in Religious Education.

In 1991, Cardinal Roger Mahony ordained Father Rodel, then 30 years of age, to the priesthood, along with 12 classmates at St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in Los Angeles. First, the archdiocese assigned him as associate pastor of St. Augustine Church in Culver City for two years, and then he was sent back to his previous intern assignment, St. Martha’s Church, in Valinda, California as associate pastor for six years. This was followed by another assignment as associate pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Canoga Park, California.

In 2001, Fr. Rodel took the position of administrator pro term at St. John Neumann in Santa Maria, California. After six months, the archdiocese sent him back to Los Angeles to be the administrator of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church.

In July, 2002, Fr. Rodel became the 8th pastor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. In the same year, he started to pursue advanced studies in homiletics at Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Missouri through long-distance learning and intensive weeks of classroom studies each semester. In May 2009, after receiving final approval of his doctoral thesis project, “Communal Preaching for Transformation,” from Aquinas Institute of Theology, Fr. Rodel earned his Doctor of Ministry in Preaching.

Fr. Rodel is known for his love and passion for pastoral and multicultural ministry, vibrant liturgy and music, transformational preaching, organizational skills, and charismatic ability to invite others for leadership and service. He has made the parish of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church a vibrant and active faith community and has put it on the map nationwide through television coverage, radio interviews, magazines, and newspapers.

Under his leadership, through Capital Campaign even during the time of global recession, Immaculate Heart of Mary Church was able to undergo major restoration and renovation, a long-time dream of many parishioners to celebrate their parish’s Centennial Year in 2012. During the opening liturgy of the church’s Centennial Year in January 29, 2012, Fr. Rodel was able to bring in three thousand people in attendance with Archbishop Jose H. Gomez as Main Celebrant, Bishop Edward Wm. Clark and other members of the clergy as co-celebrants.

Fr. Rodel, the Centennial Pastor, will be remembered for his morally intelligent leadership: “To Love with Faith”. Through his spirituality, innovation, creativity, and willingness to step outside the box, the parish has become a vibrant Church, a model parish in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

contact fr rodel
Reverend Camilo Pacanza
Fr. Miloy, as he is fondly called, arrived at IHMC more than three (3) years ago on the feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Prior to his coming to Hollywood, he was assigned in the Diocese of Balanga (Bataan, Philippines) where he spent 28 years in serving various parishes of the diocese, initially as associate pastor and eventually as pastor. As a seminarian, Fr. Miloy received excellent education from the Jesuits, but as luck would have it, he was ordained as a diocesan priest. And, through all these years, he has turned out to be an excellent man of the cloth.

With the inspiring encouragement and support of the energetic and visionary pastor, Fr. Miloy has reinvented himself since his arrival at IHMC. A consummate jack of all trades and master of all, he finally found the perfect venue to put into good use his numerous talents and IHMC will never be same for it.

He is an accomplished artist – a singer, an actor, a designer. He has enlivened many functions with his incomparable rendition of his favorite songs. His performance in one play has been unofficially called out as the best. He has turned IHCM as his canvas to display his talent as a designer. Since his arrival, the church’s classic beauty and uniqueness has been enhanced and showcased with appropriate and exquisite decorations during the different seasons of the liturgical year - all on a shoestring budget.

Most of all, he is a caring, loyal and dedicated friend beyond compare. Parishioners are very lucky and fortunate to have him as a personal friend.

IHMC has been transformed and will never be the same again. Fr. Miloy has made sure of this.

Maria Martinez
Administrative Assistant
Maria Martinez has worked for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for 20 years: 6 years in the various offices of the Archdiocese and 14 years at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. She is in the process of finishing a Certificate in Parish Business Administration with Loyola Marymount University.

Aside from her duties in the office, of assisting the pastor in clerical, hospitality, building maintenance, and administrative works, Maria is in charge of the Food Pantry and emergency service assistance to poor and needy people.

Maria’s mission in life is simple and straightforward: to help people in need. Her vision is to be more involved in the different aspects of her job. Her passion is to be a loving mother. Maria’s interests are hiking, music, and dance.

Christopher "Pete" Avendano

Mariela Morales
Mariela Morales earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development from California State University and an Associate of Arts Degree in Child Development from Los Angeles City College.

Raised in Hollywood, California, Mariela has great knowledge of the lives of the local residents, particularly immigrant families from Mexico and countries of Central America. Many people regard Mariela as friendly, always having a smiling face, and possessing the ability to interact with many language and cultural groups. She is fun loving and enjoys time with family and friends.

In 2002, Mariela started working as secretary and office assistant at Immaculate Heart of Mary Church. In 2006, after seeing her organization skills and wholesome personality, the pastor, Fr. Rodel, hired Mariela for the vacant position of Religious Education Coordinator.

Through the encouragement of her pastor, Mariela took the Basic Formation Course, Elementary Specialization, Confirmation Specialization, and Confirmation Coordinator Specialization from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Presently, Mariela has grown to be confident with her job.

Mariela is also in charge of preparing the Sunday Bulletin and other clerical and administrative tasks that the pastor would her to do. Mariela is very popular among children and youth, is a team player, and easy to work with. Here is one of Mariela’s favorite quotations:

"ABILITY is what you are capable of doing.
MOTIVATION determines what you do.
ATTITUDE determines how well you do it."
- Lou Holtz

Melissa Ann De Guzman-Ager
Youth Minister
One of the best things about God is his ability to do amazing things in our lives, to take our ideas and dreams and completely change them to fit His purpose. This has been true for Melissa Ann, who has served as Youth Minister of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church for the past six years.

Melissa Ann received her Associates of Science in Health Care Administration at West Coast University, Los Angeles in 2003. She continued her studies and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration at the same University in 2006. She is currently working at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles as Assistant Curriculum Coordinator in the Versant RN Residency in Pediatrics Department.

Melissa Ann is married to a wonderful, supportive and loving husband, Ronnie Ager for 5 ½ years and blessed with a 3 ½ years old son, Noah Nicholas Ager who have a genuine curiosity and eagerness to absorbed all knowledge you bring him.

Her passion is to share the Word of God with people in such a way that they are compelled to live life beyond their own expectations and lay hold of the life that God has for them.

Melissa Ann’s vision to the Youth Ministry is to draw young people into community in their parish and family life, to form them according the Gospel values, and to enkindle in them comfort and enthusiasm in their faith adventure.

History of IHM
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